39th Bomb Group (VH)
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1st Lt William K. Brooks
Airplane Commander

William K. Brooks was born 10 June 1918 and grew up in the Portland, ME. area.

He graduated from the University of Maine at Orono (ME) with a bachelor of science in horticulture in 1940.

He had a distinguished career in the military. He left a position as a accountant for the Maine Central Railroad to join the U.S. Army Air Corps on 13 August 1942 entering from Portland, ME. He served as Airplane Commander of Replacement Crew 11 flying 28 combat missions and logging 439 combat flying hours. Later he was recalled for the Korean Conflict again as a B-29 bomber pilot, logging 324 combat flying hours in 35 combat missions. He remained in the USAF to complete a 30-year service. During this time he flew an assortment of other aircraft in later decades including the B-52.

He received numerous decorations and service awards including the Legion of Merit, The Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters (which is equivalent to five Air Medals).

He retired at the rank of Colonel in 1973 as Director of Logistics for the 42nd Air Division at McCoy AFB, Florida.

William Brooks and Barbara Welles Turner were married in 1949. They have one son, William, Jr. and 2 grandsons. Bill and Barbara were married for 52 yrs until her death on 13 April 2001.

With nearly 32 years of retirement, Bill Brooks was a gregarious man who enjoyed sharing his views and insights in animated conversation with friends. He also enjoyed studying animal behavior and kept a wide variety of pets over the years. He was enthusiastic about horticulture and cultivated many species of tropical flowering plants, other exotic plants, and fruit-bearing trees. He was also an outspoken champion of individual liberty and personal privacy. Bill had a long-term love for the area where he grew up near Portland, ME., and vacationed there annually for decades.

He resided Indialantic, FL from 1973 until his death on 10 February 2005, at the age of 86 years old.

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors on March 11, 2005.

Crew 11 Main Page
60th Squadron Crew Index
Source: Obituary of William K. Brooks; William Brooks, Jr. Son